In many world cultures, experience is revered. There are so many things, that only time can bring – maturity, calmness, expertise etc etc. Human resources extrapolates this to organisational structure too. The whitest heads are at the top of the organisation and the youngest ones learn the ropes by working in entry and mid level jobs.
The reason for this practice is closely related to education. If you look at the system today, you’re learning broad, general things at the undergraduate level. The requirements of industry are based on the concepts taught in college, but require more specific expertise to perform a job. Hence a new recruit is put through a training process, and with work experience, the candidate grows.
It is for the same reason that candidates with post graduate degrees are paid more. A master’s degree requires you to specialise in a particular field in a discipline. With that specific knowledge, a post graduate degree holder can come into a job, and own it. They will have the vision to lead it, as they have a very systems approach to the problem and are aware of the bigger picture.
Now, this is an effective practice, if the expertise that a job seeks –
1) Operational experience at a job
2) Expertise which can only be learnt through a college degree
In computer science, the above two conditions are slowly becoming irrelevant. There is so much computer science knowledge available on the internet, that picking it up to a great level of expertise, doesn’t need a college degree. And the world of open source and competitive coding is giving operational experience to coders, without ever needing to go to a job.
And recruiters, you need to start factoring this into your hiring process. At least for the 1-5 year bracket.
Unfortunately, this is taking way too long. Even in processes like ours, where the skill of a candidate is vetted and the candidate is a perfect fit for the job, we see rejections for lack of experience. Imagine a kid, who took the test for a 3+ year experience test and aces it, and a company rejects that person because he/she doesn’t have the required number of years of experience.
This kid, outdid all the 2-3 year experience candidates in the challenge, and you didn’t hire him because he didn’t have the number of years specified by your JD? This is a big loss for such a company. This developer will be snapped up without a second thought, by another company, which is cognisant of the world of computer science.And, the kid is going to perform better than your candidates with the required years of experience.
HackerEarth prides itself in helping companies find programmers worth their weight in gold. But what is the use, if companies are not ready to hire them because of legacy practices in their recruitment process?
Of course, we’re not oblivious to the rigours involved in changing an old process, which has been in place for several years. But a slight shift in attitude is necessary. Set questions which you expect a certain experience level candidate to solve. And if a kid, without the required years of experience solves it, TAKE HIM/HER. Not only with that person be a great performer, they will also raise the engineering bar of the company, as this is a person who’s capability is ahead of their age.
Do you know of such whiz kids? Tell us your experience with them!